Nobody likes going to the dentists, do they? When I was young and living
in the UK, I remember
being given gas before having a tooth taken out.
Mr. Fox, a kind, gentle dentist with wonderful a sense of humour and
half-moon spectacles balancing
on the edge of his nose, would hold a rubber mask over my mouth
and nose until I fell unconscious.
I’d come round with a wad of bloody cotton wool in mouth, my head
How strange and barbaric that all sounds now, but 40 years ago tooth
extractions by gas were common.
As were huge metal syringes connected to rubber pipes and
“How are things at school?”, Mr. Fox would ask, knowing full well I
couldn’t speak coherently with my
mouth wide open and his fingers inside. “What’s your favourite subject?”
“Ahhayimpruhh anhiraharu”, I replied. Mr.Fox nodded and smiled, as if he
understood every word.
Perhaps he did!
The best thing about going to the dentist, apart from having an
afternoon off school, was that my mum
would always buy me a present afterwards, for being ‘such a good boy’.
An Airfix model aeroplane, for
example, that would take me weeks to paint and then glue together
or a jigsaw puzzle or small game.
My bedroom ceiling was full of World War II planes, hanging there
as swinging reminders of bravery at
the hands of Mr. Fox.
Because of my love for chocolate, cakes and biscuits, I’ve never
been a stranger to dentists. As fate
would have it, I even live with one! Now, when I look around the modern
cubicle at the shiny hi-tech
tools and drills, and miniature cameras and video screens, I
often think back to Mr. Fox and the silly
schoolboy songs I used to sing to myself to help me through the nervous
moments in his huge, old, leather